|Navdanya's Organizational Over View|
Bija Vidyapeeth - Sustainable Living
Our programme on sustainable living provides education on Earth Democracy at Bija Vidyapeeth on Navdanya Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Ecological Farm. Navdanya informs policy makers as well as the public about the dangers of genetically modified organisms and provides an authentic and diverse picture on the status of GM crops and food in various countries.
It has been mobilizing people around the world to fight for their basic democratic right to choose GMO-free food and create GMO free zone. We fight against patents on seeds and plants and stand up for seed sovereignty and people’s right to food and water security.
Diverse Women for Diversity
Navdanya is a women-led gender sensitive movement, which puts women first. Our gender program called Diverse Women for Diversity seeks to strengthen women’s grassroots movements and provide women with a common international platform to air their views.
Earth Democracy - Seed Sovereignty
Navdanya pioneered the movement of seed saving, which began in response to the crisis of agricultural biodiversity. We realize that conservation of agricultural biodiversity is impossible without the participation of the communities who have evolved and protected the plants and animals that form the basis of sustainable agriculture.
The Navdanya program works for promoting ecological agriculture based on biodiversity, for economic and food security.
For last 2 decades Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations serving more than 2,00,000 men and women farmers from the States of Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Navdanya’s efforts have resulted in the conservation of more than 2000 rice varieties from all over the country including indigenous rice varieties that have been adapted over centuries to meet different ecological demands.
We have also conserved 31 varieties of wheat and hundreds of millets, pseudocereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and multipurpose plant species including medicinal plants.
Over the past two decades Navdanya has initiated Community Seed Banks with many partners including Beej Bachao Andolan in Uttar Pradesh, Green Foundation, Navdarshanam and Centre for Tropical Ecosystems, all three in Karnataka, Rishi Valley in Andhra Pradesh, Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems in Tamil Nadu, Vrihi in West Bengal, Prakruti Paramparika Bihana Sangarakhna Abhijan in Orissa, Kisan Samvardhan Kendra in Madhya Pradesh, Kisan Vigyan Kendra in Banda, Uttar Pradesh, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage in Kerala, and Hazaribagh, Jharkhand and the Women’s’ Alliance and Ladakh Ecology Group in Jammu & Kashmir. Navdanya encourages partners to become self sufficient & self supporting to reflect our philosophy of seed sovereignty.
Navdanya has established 65 seed banks in 16 states across the country as we believe in operating through a network of community seed banks in different ecozones of the country, and thus facilitating the rejuvenation of agricultural biodiversity, farmer’s self-reliance in seed locally and nationally, and farmer’s right.
It would be interesting to note that, saline resistant seeds conserved by Navdanya in Orissa have helped the victims of the super cyclone that hit Orissa in October 1999 to re-establish sustainable agriculture. Harmonizing its philosophy, Navdanya has also established a conservation and training center at its farm in Doon Valley. More than 5,00,000 farmers are primary members of Navdanya.
These farmers in turn are spreading the movement in their neighboring villages through Bija Yatras Today, the biodiversity conservation program which are directly run by Navdanya or supported by it, are underway in Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, West Bengal, Karnataka, Haryana.
Earth Democracy - Food Sovereignty
In August 2004, Navdanya organized Vasundhara – International Organic Farmers’ & Seed Keeper’s Gathering- of around 300 farmers and seed keepers, to celebrate diversity and renew their vow to keep agriculture and biodiversity free and in the commons.
Chemical agriculture and Genetic engineering are threatening public health and leading to nutrition decline. Costs of production, which includes hybrid and genetically engineered seeds, chemicals and irrigation etc., are increasing with every season pushing farmers into the debt trap and also to suicides. Thousands of farmers have given their life in India in last two decades because of the debt.
As an insurance against such vulnerability Navdanya has pioneered the conservation of biodiversity in India and built a movement for the protection of small farmers through promotion of ecological farming and fair trade to ensure the healthy, diverse and safe food. The movement is now spread throughout India through our partner organizations and farmers networks.
Navdanya’s pioneering research on the hazards of chemical farming, the costs of industrial agriculture and the risks of genetic engineering have led to a paradigm shift. Our research has proved that contrary to the dominant assumptions; ecological agriculture is highly productive and is the only lasting solution to hunger and poverty.
Navdanya have so far trained over 5,00,000 men and women farmers, students, govt. officials, representatives of national as well as international NGO’s, Voluntary Organizations on biodiversity conservation and organic farming. We have also trained several large groups like Yuvacharya of Art of Living, NGO led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The group is presently working in about 5000 villages of India.
Navdanya has trained secretaries and extension officers of the Tibetan government in exile and now their settlements across the country are in conversion to organic. Biodiversity based farming has changed the economic status of the member farmer across the country. Organic agriculture is not just a source of safer, healthier, tastier food. It is an answer to rural poverty.
High cost corporate agriculture is having adverse impact on the livelihood of farmers. The increasing cost of production and the falling prices combined with the decline in farm credit is putting great burden on farmers, which is pushing him to suicide. Till date more than 2,50,000 farmers from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab have taken their lives.
Since then, RFSTE has been monitoring the impact of trade liberalization policies on Indian farmers and Indian agriculture since the new economic policy (1991) and WTO rules of the agreement on agriculture (1995) came into force. In celebration of non-violent organic agriculture, every year Navdanya organizes Albert Howard memorial lecture on 2nd October, initiated in the year 2000 to tribute to the two messiahs of sustainability and non-violence; Mahatma Gandhi and Sir Albert Howard. Organic agriculture is saving the Earth and farmers’ lives.
Fair Trade - Connecting Farmers to Co-producers
At Navdanya we ensure the linking of the Seed- to- the- Table and of Farmers to Co-producers through our Fair Trade Initiatives. One of our seminal contributions to Fair Trade practices has been the marketing of organic agricultural produces directly from the farmers to the consumers, who through their consumption patterns become the co-producers of agriculture.
To this end, we have two outlets in New Delhi. Our very first outlet is at Dilli Haat, which is a platform where crafts people and artisans offer their wares to buyers in the true spirit of Swadeshi; recently to service both our consumer members as well as our farmer members whose numbers are growing, better Navdanya opened another outlet at Dilli Haat, New Delhi. We have a similar space also in Dehradun, the capital of Uttaranchal, a state where we have a sizeable number of farmer members.
At our outlets, we offer a very diverse range of agricultural produce both as grains and in a processed form. The diversity by way of rice, wheat, millets, cracked wheat, breakfast cereals, cookies, etc., reflects our commitment to conserving local seeds and biodiversity, practicing a water prudent agriculture and ensuring the livelihoods of small farmers and women in the face of globalization.
We complete the seed-to-table experience through our Slow Food Café at Stall no 18, Dilli Haat outlet, New Delhi, where you can eat organic food made from nutritious grains including those that are disappearing and being forgotten. Our menu based on diversity will make eating out a treat for all, even those who have major diet restrictions due to diabetes, high blood pressure and food allergies.
We express our concern for the health of the Earth and its people in many other ways; through our door-to-door organic vegetable basket delivery scheme, our annual Abir Gulal festival to celebrate a toxic free Holi, our indigenous cold drinks festivals throughout the scorching summer months to help you beat the heat in a healthy way, while also being respectful to the Earth, water and people’s livelihood.
Slow Food Cafe
As a recognition to the services Navdanya is rendering to the propagation of sustainable food producing practices at the level of small farmers and artisan food communities, Slow Food, the International Movement for the protection of traditional foods, invited 13 Navdanya Food Communities to be part of Terra Madre, an assembly of more than 5,000 artisan food producers from all over the world.
Around 70 Navdanya food growers and food processors attended the very first Terra Madre event held in October 2004 in Torino. For us, Terra Madre was a celebration of all that we believe in and have been practicing for more than two decades; an honest agriculture in which prices do not lie, which does not exploit the earth and the earth’s caretakers’. Terra Madre was also a celebration of our practice of living economies in which we co-produce with the earthworm and the spider, with the mychorizzae and the fungi. We are all connected in the web of life, and its food that spins that web. Navdanya member farmers, scientists, musicians, chefs and member of different food communities across India actively participated in Terra Madre 2006, 2008 and 2010.